Aug 122018
 

Last year when my Mom visited for Thanksgiving—Canadian Thanksgiving, in October, not the American holiday in November—we decorated my newly rebuilt porch with strange pumpkins and squash. I fetched a birch log from the wood pile, and we had a holiday arrangement that looked good enough to keep around for weeks rather than days.

After the first freeze though, everything sagged. So I went out, collected the soft fruit and tossed everything in the garden. Winter came. Then this spring, I went out to turn the soil and everything had broken apart and come to pieces. I saw seeds, but ignored them. They sprouted though, and I’ve kept them all, pushing them back off the peppers, tomatoes, broccoli and rhubarb, but otherwise giving them free rein to do what they’d like.

So now I have acorn squash, regular pumpkins, white pumpkins, very strangely shaped and bright red pumpkins. I have acorn squash, some kind of yellow squash I don’t recognize. Maybe more even. And they are growing everywhere, even on the fences, producing improbable fruit and it’s exciting and encouraging.

There’s wisdom in leaving things alone, letting them be.

 August 12, 2018  Moments Tagged with: ,
Jul 302018
 

Home from Mexico, I started looking at the calendar trying to figure out when I could arrange a trip to see family. I hadn’t been down since my brother’s wedding and, come fall, that was going to be two years. It was a long time.

Life’s complicated though, so once I started trying to figure out when I could string together five or six days during the Fall term, I realized that “next summer” was a real option for getting down to see everyone. Then the Beav stepped in: “Why not just go now? You have a a few weeks before classes start again.” It was obvious and brilliant.

The trip begins

So after a couple calls and a few days to take care of some house chores and some Montreal errands, I jumped in my car and drove down. It was a two day trip (20 hours) both ways, but went well. I kept the windows down, the radio off and watched the landscape. Crossing the distance on my own made the two poles of my family life feel closer together.

The visit was great and a surprise: I’d only told mom and my brother. For everyone else it was all very “what are you doing here?!?!?!” when I showed up at the beach. (Well, mostly that. My sister and spiritual twin divined from signs too obscure even to mention what I was up to.) 

Heading home…almost there.

Back now and waiting for Mom to arrive tomorrow for a week’s vacation in Montreal. Clearly, but unexpectedly, it’s turning out to be a summer of partying.

 July 30, 2018  Travel Tagged with:
Jul 112018
 

Setting off for home.

The schedule is a bus to the airport (3 1/2 hours) followed by the flight home (6 1/2 hours).

 

Once we’re in Montreal, we’ll take a shuttle to the car, then the drive home (1 1/2 hours). I think we’re going to be pooped once we get there!

 July 11, 2018  Travel Tagged with:
Jul 102018
 

We wandered out at the end of the morning without the umbrella because it was sunny with no rain in the forecast, but then spent the day trying to stay dry!

Our first stop was for a late breakfast and coffee (under the watchful eye of a dog on a roof) followed by a visit to the Museo de Ignasio Allende. The museum occupies his former home and is packed with long Spanish texts arguing that the city’s namesake was the principal figure in the Mexican war of independence. It also presents rooms decorated with period appropriate furnishings and made “life-like” by never appropriate wax sculptures like this one.

The first storm hit as we were leaving the museum, and we waited it out under the awning of a nearby depanneur. When it let up, we ducked into the Starbucks down the block.

We waited out the next storm there and then set off for the hotel but got caught running in the rain the last block. We spent the rest of the afternoon reading. When things cleared up, we headed out to a pizza place down the street, this time bringing our umbrella! Obviously it didn’t rain.

The food recap for the day is as follows:

 

Dinner done, we’re packed and ready for the shuttle tomorrow at 9am. It’s going to be a long day of travel.

 July 10, 2018  Travel Tagged with:
Jul 092018
 

Breakfast
(seriously)

After breakfast and organizing our ride down to the Mexico City Airport Wednesday, we decided to walk out to El Charco del Ingenio, the botanical gardens. The first few roads you have to walk to get there were winding, steep climbs and tough going.

 

The gardens were worth it. They were spread out across a corner of a larger reserve and were full of all kinds of cactuses and succulents.

The real attraction though is a nature trail running along the top of a canyon the drops down into San Miguel. There are ruins of an old water-powered textile mill and beautiful waterfalls and views. Phone died early on so not many pics but the hike will probably be the highlight of the trip.

Walking home we visited the market and, after cooling off with a couple local brews sporting T-shirt labels for the World Cup, ate Italian food for dinner. Yummy.

 July 9, 2018  Travel Tagged with:
Jul 082018
 

Today’s big event was a tour of two “historic” houses. The tickets were 20$ each which is exorbitant. (Only a couple meals have cost more than that!) But we bought them because the tour money went to the public library.

Turns out the first house was a renovated property available for rent. The second was a private house—beautiful, yes—but done up in modern Architectural Digest style by the financial planner owners.

We ditched after a quick look at the second and set off walking on our own through the southern part of town.

The rest of the day was low-key. Rain was coming so we hung around the hotel room and read. I had mole pueblano for both lunch and dinner. So I was near euphoric by the end of the day.

 July 8, 2018  Travel Tagged with:
Jul 082018
 

The Templo de la Concepción in San Miguel de Allende is a dirty and battered little church nudged up against an old convent that’s been converted to an art school. The convent’s courtyard has comfortable chairs and avocado trees heavy with fruit.  We read there most of a morning. The church though is a dreary spot.

Or would be if not for the shade tree that stands just beyond the thick wooden doors. People gather beneath it when the sun beats down, and that tree, reaching up around them, rings with the divine.

 July 8, 2018  Moments Tagged with:
Jul 082018
 

I stare about me, trying to etch into this journal the sense of Shey that is so precious, aware that all such effort is in vain; the beauty of this place must be cheerfully abandoned, like the wild rocks in the bright water of its streams. Frustration at the paltriness of words drives me to write, but there is more of Shey in a single sheep hair, in one withered sprig of everlasting, than in all these notes; to strive for permanence in what I think I have perceived is to miss the point.

—Peter Matthiessen, The Snow Leopard